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Futsal Fair

Battle of Futsal Fair Top Dogs to End in Phoenix’ Favour

The U17 Futsal Fair match that everyone had been waiting for took place on the first day of the tournament. Phoenix and Lubart played a game, the importance of which in the fight for gold can hardly be overestimated. Moreover, the previous head-to-heads of the teams were held as part of the Futsal Fair, too, and one of them, on October 6, 2019, brought us the only win so far in one of the most well-established Ukrainian futsal tournaments.

For the hosts the game with the Kharkiv team was first on the Futsal Fair schedule, the violets played their first game a couple of hours earlier, though, beating the Forward of Lutsk -in actual fact Lyubart's third team - with a score of 8:3.

The hosts set off on a domineering note: being physically superior to the opposition, they tried to make use of that advantage from the very early minutes of the match. The Kharkiv team, as if expecting the pressure, firmly settled in its half of the field, trying to prevent Lyubart's players from punching on goal. In an effort to win the fight, both teams acted tough, breaking the rules quite often. As early as in minute two Maksym Dolhulia - Phoenix' pivot - received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. By minute four, Phoenix earned as many as four fouls to be penalised with a ten meter shot with any foul to follow. One of the lessons learnt in the recent Super Cup of Ukraine for Serhii Hrytsenko and Yurii Vashchenko's players was how such a turn of events can change the tide of the match, when Phoenix played against KIVS Futsal of Lviv.

At some point, the referees apparently lost control of the game, missing dangerous tackles from both sides, which heated up things significantly. One of the violations of the hosts led to Phoenix' trademark free kick. The kick, however, did not come out as planned, the team seemed to have lost the ball, but the interception by Khodatskyi ended with Ivan Konkov's cross to Maxim Dolhulia, the one-timer the latter turned home on the far post, taking the score to 1:0.

Lyubart had a good chance to level the score before the half-time break, but the pivot of the Lutsk team, turning at the six-meter mark, kicked past the goal. In the last seconds of the half, Danylo Boldyzhev could have distinguished himself, punching dangerously from the left flank, his kick flying centimeters from the far post, though.

After the break, the game livened up even more. The hosts' plans did not include a loss in the opening match of the home tournament, Phoenix was too tired of coming second, brimming with motivation and dedication. Mykyta Bodnar's head-to-head was interrupted by Lubart's goalie with a dangerous tackle. In a return attack, Vova Lazeba had to demonstrate his skills, cutting into a dangerous cross. The defense of the violets began to malfunction, and Lazeba had to save the team over and over again.

The open play with numerous attacks from both sides brought tangible pleasure to the fans in the stands, both local sports fans who supported their team and the landing force from Kharkiv represented by futsal players born in 2013 and their parents. A great chance was not realized by Ivan Konkov, missing the empty goal after Danylo Khodatsky's perfect pass. Lyubart's counterattack was interrupted by Volodymyr Lazeba, who knocked the ball into the stands just in time. After Danylo Boldyzhev's powerful kick, saved by Lyubart's goalkeeper, the ball hit our defender's arm, but the referee saw no reason for a penalty in that situation.

In the attack to follow, Mykyta Bodnar, who was breaking through to the goal, was first held back by hands, and then hit on the legs from behind. He managed to give a pass to Boldyzhev, but Lyubart's goalie saved his team from an inevitable goal.

The refereeing of the match raised questions and ultimately led to the fact that the atmosphere was heated to the limit, at risk of finally spiraling out of the referees' control. Two minutes before the end of the game, another counterattack of Phoenix was interrupted by the lagging defender of Lyubart with an unsportsmanlike foul in which he was close to tearing Khodatskyi's shirt, but he rounded off the episode in cold blood, actually creating a chance to score, which led to the second goal scored.

Having achieved a more or less comfortable advantage, Phoenix did not close its defense, trying to meet the Lutsk as far from its goal as possible. It was successful for a while, but the owners still managed one goal scored, with no more to come, though.

Phoenix managed a win over one of the main top dogs of the tournament and after the first match day is leading in the U17 age category of the Futsal Fair.